Washed More Clean


The week of our monster storm early in the month brought our rain year's total up to 10.4".  The rain event that began Saturday and ended Tuesday brought 1.62" more, for a total of 12.02" (305 mm).   The garden is moisture-fat and foliage is so very clean.  

Harbinger of Spring:

Wet foliage magic:

Agave marmorata flower stem continues its ascent.  It is not taking the winter off.  Leucadendron 'Sylvan Red' below:

Unlike Agave marmorata, Agave parrasana's flower stem paused for the winter. 

I was able to tackle the removal of  dying Leucospermum 'Yellow Bird'  before and after the latest rains.  

A whole lot of lopping and chopping:

Three bins stuffed full:

From the driveway side of the oak, looking under the oak's lowest branches, the removal of 'Yellow Bird' has opened up a lot of space.  'Yellow Bird''s stump is visible:

A different angle looking at the area from the street, with the Leucospermum stump visible upper middle of the photo:
The two Aloes at lower left in the above photo, A. tweediae and A. suprafoliata, were nearly engulfed by the Leucospermum, but survived.   I think they will recover.  They were also impeded by a spreading clump of Agave lophantha 'Quadricolor' which I also removed.  All the rain made the Agaves easy to dig out.

Plants on the front slope washed clean by so much rain look very good.  The slope is filling in some what.  With less empty space it looks better.

Leucadendron 'More Silver' really improved in 2023 thanks to last winter's lavish rainfall, and it is in full flower at the moment:

Not my favorite Leucadendron--I wish it was more silver than it is--but it's pleasing to see it looking so healthy.  

Salvia apiana, planted on the front slope last year, is likely to flower this spring.  It is native right to this area and is a favorite of native bees and butterflies as well as honeybees.

Unquestionably more silver:

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' is not yet stripped of its flowers by rabbits.  The local raptors and coyotes seem to have thinned the rabbit population somewhat.

Aloes on the front slope flowering at the moment.  A. petricola...

...and A. taurii, which has a flower somewhat similar to A. castanea, though without castanea's dark brown nectar.

Drimia Maritima's undulating foliage in the background: 

In other parts of the garden, a new impulse buy plant purchase, Euphorbia 'Miner's Merlot'.  I could not resist the color, though when summer arrives, heat may quickly kill it.  I've not been able to keep this kind of Euphorbia alive for long.  

There's always Aeonium 'Zwartzkop' for black foliage, here appearing to inspect Hippeastrum papillio:
Freesia time about to begin.  I managed to prop most of them up with small circles of hardware cloth, so the flowers will not be flopped over face down in the mulch.
So that's what's up in the garden here. 


  1. Wow, your pictures never disappoint. Agave marmorata - woah, how tall is that spike? I like how fluffy the bloom of A. taurii is. I have the same Euphorbia in a full sun situation in the back, and it has held up so well. It's looked great year-round.

    1. The flower stalk of the previous A. marmorata was 25'. The one in the photo is at least that tall.

      So how much water do you give your 'Miner's Merlot'? I'd very much like not to kill mine.

    2. Probably splashed it once or twice a week at most. It is located really close to the hose :). I'd like to add more - the color is outstanding.

    3. Thanks--that's helpful. Your summers are hotter than here, so perhaps summer won't kill it this time.

  2. Indeed--everything looks plump, full, and happy. The Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' is so vibrant and lovely. I think I need a coyote, although the resident fox (I think it's still here) and the occasional raptors seem to be keeping the rabbit populations down more than in the past. Your garden is beautiful!

    1. Foxes work, if coyotes are not available.

      Happy plants, happy gardener! Thanks!

  3. I'm glad to hear you've been able to get back to work in a garden a bit. My succulents are also looking squeaky clean. I've started digging up the least productive succulent bed in my garden - it's very soggy, which probably accounts for the poor performance of the succulents in that area. I think I'm going to haul in a truckload of succulent-friendly soil this time!

    1. It's slow going but I've managed a few things. The color and gloss of the foliage is amazing, no? Every color seems more saturated and intense without the usual coating of dust. Makes a gardener smile!

  4. Mid February is the start of winter cleanup in my north Seattle garden; a full garden waste container is always satisfying, even when they aren't mine :-D
    Front slope is gorgeous, and I love the orange Leucospermum (?) lit up in the background.
    Euphorbias... I've kind of given up on them. Very tempting in garden centers, unimpressive performers in my garden.
    I'm a fan of silvery plants. I hope your naive Salvia apiana will bloom this year. It looks really good!

    1. Those Euphorbias must be happy somewhere, but where?

      I'm trying to minimize green waste via what composting and chop-and-drop I can manage, but woody branches take a long time to compost.

      Orange I think is the Aechmea blanchtiana (Bromeliad). It does add a big splash of color. Yes another silver foliage fan here.

      Have fun getting your garden ready for Spring!

  5. Everything looks fresh and marvelous. Zwartzkof and H papillio look fantastic together. That's one happy aeonium. Your front slope is looking really good. There's enough variety in the shapes of the aloes and agaves, along with a touch of yellow to really make the whole planting shine.

  6. I picked up 'Miner's Merlot' euphorb a couple weeks ago too -- not too many tempting plants local so it's always best to grab what's available. Aloe taurii has striking similarity to A. castanea -- you have such a great aloe collection to compare and contrast species!

    1. I will be happy if 'Miner's survives the summer...

      There are over 300 species of Aloes, so I've barely scratched the surface!

  7. What is the average rainfall per year there?

  8. You're digging! Sounds like the knee is healing, I'm so glad. That type of euphorbia is nearly impossible to keep alive here too. I wonder where it's goldilocks spot is?

    1. Knee better, yes, thanks!

      That type of Euphorbia doesn't work for you either?!?!!? Where oh where then??

  9. Seeing your agaves in bloom at that stage always reminds me why the are in the asparagus family. Hippeastrum papillio looks stunning next to Zwartzkop.


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